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Eaton sells Vickers Electrics and buys IMC cylinders

01 October, 2000

The Eaton Corporation is selling Vickers Electrics, the drive-making division of Aeroquip-Vickers, to the precision controls specialist Moog. In a separate move, Eaton is buying the industrial cylinders business of International Motion Control (IMC).

Vickers Electrics, based in Casella, Italy, employs 162 people producing high-performance drives. Eaton acquired the business as part of Aeroquip-Vickers, which it bought in April last year. In December, it sold the rest of the Vickers Electronic Systems division ---including the CNC, machine rebuilding, injection moulding, and electronic subcontracting businesses - to Siemens, saying that the division did not fit with its long-term strategic objectives.

Vickers Electrics is a $20m business specialising in 600V motors and controllers. John Scannell, Moog`s electric drives business manager, says it will be "a strong complement to our existing line of electric controls". Until now, Vickers has focussed on the Italian industrial machinery market, but Scannell plans to make its products available globally.

According to ARC analyst Sal Spada, the acquisition complements Moog`s already strong position in hydraulic controls for injection moulding by extending its high-power motion capabilities. "As the injection moulding market continues to substitute electric for hydraulic actuators," says Spada, "this is a very strategic acquisition for Moog to retain its long-term competitiveness in this niche market".

The Vickers business dates back to 1948 when it was set up by the Biglino family. In 1970, they sold it to Philips which, in turn, sold the business to Aeroquip-Vickers in 1987.

Eaton`s latest acquisition, the IMC cylinders business, produces fluid power equipment under the Hydro-Line, Air-Dro and Hydrowa brands. Its sales last year amounted to $63m.

The business has its headquarters in the US, but it has operations in Wolverhampton, the Netherlands and Italy. Globally, it employs around 450 people. It will join Eaton`s Industrial Hydraulics division which is, in turn, part of Eaton`s $2,500m fluid power group.

William Sackrider, vice-present of Eaton`s global hydraulic operation, describes the acquired business as "an excellent fit in complementing our existing Vickers cylinder business". He adds that the deal "will greatly expand our presence in the North American market, as well as providing immediate entrée to European markets".

IMC`s decision to sell the business marks a change in tack for the company which, as recently as 1998, acquired the Dutch firm Hydrowa, the hydraulic cylinder business of Valtro Tocchetta in Italy, and Air-Dro Cylinders of Alabama. IMC plans to concentrate on the high technology parts of its business such as the drive and motor manufacturer Cleveland Motion Controls and the energy and vibration absorption specialist Enidine.

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